Team Singapore basketball teams glean valuable experience at FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2022 despite losses
Players from the men’s and women’s teams reflect on their experience playing in the regional tournament.
Team Singapore were unable to advance to the (FIBA) 3v3 Asia Cup quarter-finals following defeats in all of its main draw games for both the men’s and women’s divisions of the tournament.
The fifth edition of the (FIBA) 3v3 Asia Cup was held for the first time in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza from Jul 6 to Jul 10.
A total of 51 other teams from 29 countries all across Asia competed to earn a place at the upcoming FIBA 3×3 World Cup in 2023.
While both the Singapore men’s and women’s teams had their campaigns cut short – expectedly considering they were facing the top teams in Asia – the experience at the regional competition still proved to be a valuable experience with a handful of key takeaways.
An unconventional but beneficial venue
The venue for this year’s FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup offered a twist in the usual scenery, as the tournament was held at the Marina Bay Sands Event Plaza with an open-air setting instead of the usual OCBC Arena or the indoor hall at Singapore Basketball Centre.
While it may have been out of the ordinary, Shermaine See from the Singapore women’s team believes that holding the tournament at a “tourist and shopping destination” brought about several benefits.
She said: “When the people are walking by, they’ll be curious to see what’s going on, and it kind of helps get us (Singapore basketball) out there.
“Although there are a lot of people who play basketball in Singapore, I think in terms of national basketball support we don’t get much limelight. Through the FIBA 3×3, it can kind of help people learn about the national basketball team, which helps grow our presence among Singaporeans.”
Fellow teammate Wang Qin Chin also expressed that the exposure which the team received from competing in the tournament can also potentially inspire the future generation to pick up the sport.
She said: “I think it’s really good visibility for us here in Singapore. It may inspire the younger kids in the crowd to aspire to be like us, and compete professionally in basketball in the future.”
Valuable experiences and learning points despite the losses
While Team Singapore’s campaign may have been short-lived, there were plenty of valuable experiences and learning points that came from their participation in the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup.
For Mah Jun Hao from the Singapore men’s team, playing against two of the top countries in Asia – the Philippines and China – was a victory in itself despite the results, due to the learning experiences they gleaned.
The 18-year-old felt it was a “really good opportunity” to play against older and more experienced competitors at such a young age.
He added: “Our team is also quite young, so getting to compete in the tournament also serves as some very good game experience.”
“It was a really good experience playing against two of the top countries in Asia as we got to learn a lot from them, including the pace of the game and patience on the court.”
Captain for the Singapore men’s team, Lim Jun Yuan, also expressed that the team’s performance at the Asia Cup 2022 was “more of a learning experience than it is a big loss.”
He particularly highlighted the team’s performance against Bronze medalists China, which he deemed as a “satisfying performance.”
Jun Yuan said: “We just got started on 3×3 training about a month ago, and China have probably trained for over a year and competed in countries like Europe.
“China is such a big and versatile team but we didn’t let them have an easy win as we fought to the last minute. We may have been down 7-1, but fought back to make it a four to five-point game and gave them a tough time.”
After similarly going up against Asian powerhouses in Indonesia and Japan, players from the women’s team also expressed how the tournament proved to be a valuable experience for them with plenty of learning opportunities.
Pauline Ang from the women’s team stated that the way which the teams played and tactically setup was “very different” from what the team experienced from training.
Shermaine elaborated: “Japan is much quicker (than us), and in a way we can learn from them in terms of how to implement our one-on-one defending. When it comes to Indonesia, they are very big, so it tests us on our physical ability and they keep taking us one-on-one a lot on the court.
“I think this is some good exposure for us as we can learn from the games on how we can stop them and beat them eventually in the future.”
Phenomenal support from the home crowd
While the home crowd may have cheered on every team that stepped onto the court, the support which they showed towards the Singapore team was truly unmatched.
Sara Choo from the women’s team expressed how she could really “feel the support” from the home crowd each time she was on the court, which proved to be an unforgettable experience.
She shared: “We never really get a chance to play big events at home as competitions are overseas most of the time, where the home crowd is always really crazy. This time, we get a chance to see how much support we have at home, and it’s really nice and very encouraging.”
Jun Hao also reiterated that the atmosphere for the games were “really good” thanks to the supportive spectators, who came down for every game that Singapore were playing in.
Jun Yuan added: “The crowd was really nice and cheerful, and the Singaporean supporters that were cheering us on definitely gave us more energy.
“I hope to see more events like this in Singapore in the future.”